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Future Cities Forum's second pre-election debate this week

Above: Great St Mary's Cambridge and King's Parade - with King's College on right

Future Cities Forum is continuing with its pre-election series of debates. This week we will be discussing city regeneration, levelling up, climate change, and science investment/development. Our contributors are Professor Flora Samuel of Cambridge University, John Seager, The Helix/Newcastle City Council, Nyasa Beale, Scott Brownrigg and Ged Couser, BDP. Please see their profiles below.

Professor Flora Samuel

Professor Flora Samuel is Head of Department at The Department of Architecture, the University of Cambridge. An Architect trained at Cambridge and Princeton, Flora has strong opinions on the future of architectural education and the changing role of architects. She taught for 10 years at Cardiff before leading the March at the University of Bath. She was then the first woman Head of the University of Sheffield School of Architecture. She left Sheffield for Reading University to help set up a new School of Architecture to deliver an education for uncertainty.

Flora began her academic career as a Le Corbusier scholar and has written five books on neglected aspects of his work and practice, several of which have been translated into other languages. She believes that history has a vital role to play in informing future practice. Flora is a Trustee of the Quality of Life Foundation and on the Board of the Taskforce for Planning.

Professor Flora Samuel’s strength is in connecting ideas and people from different backgrounds and fields – the scholarship of integration and application, making connections across disciplines and sectors, contextualising specialisms in the larger context and making sense of them to non-specialists. Her current work focuses on inclusion through planning policy and processes evidenced through digital map making with communities and others, summarised in her most recent book Housing for Hope and Wellbeing (2023). With Eli Hatleskog Flora won a RIBA Presidents Award for Research in the Communities Category for their project Mapping Eco-Social Assets 

For Flora climate change is a social justice issue. She is the PI on the AHRC funded Community Consultation for Quality of Life Project,  a project exploring the ingredients of inclusive community consultation for planning across all four nations of the UK. The urban room is a place where the community, university, local authority, industry and practice come together to debate the future of their cities. Flora is in the process of setting up an urban room for Cambridge.

Flora is passionate about the importance of developing research in architectural practice, summarised in her book Why Architects Matter (2019). She was the first RIBA Vice President for Research and was twice elected by its membership to Council. She has lead on the development of several reports for industry bodies including the Architects Council of Europe Value of Architecture Report  and the RIBA Building Knowledge: Pathways to Post Occupancy Evaluation report. 

Over the last few years she has been developing methods for capturing intangible wellbeing outcomes in a format that can be fed into planning processes. An industry expert on social value, Flora was lead author on the RIBA Social Value Toolkit . She has contributed to a variety of social value initiatives across the construction industry and is regularly invited to speak on social impact by organisations across the globe.

Above: Part of the Newcastle Helix development - image courtesy of Newcastle Helix

John Seager

John Seager is Estates Director, Newcastle Helix. Newcastle Helix is one of the largest city centre urban regeneration projects in the UK - a partnership between Newcastle City Council, Newcastle University and Legal and General that is transforming the region through collaborative innovation.

Previous to this, John was Development Director at Broadoak Asset Management Ltd., working with real estate investors and developers as a trusted local delivery partner. Maximising property value through development management, place making, active asset management, attracting major occupiers and land disposal.

John was also a consultant for Igloo Regeneration Ltd working with the UK's leading responsible real estate business as a trusted north east based representative working with investors, communities, local authorities and landowners who want to make the world better one place at a time.

Image: Cardiff Pointe development, designed by Scott Brownrigg

Nyasa Beale

Nyasa joined Scott Brownrigg in 2012, working in the Cardiff and London Studios.  In 2018 she moved to New York for three years to establish the practice's US operation SB+C.  She now leads the Residential team in the London studio focusing on front end design and International projects.

With her extensive and detailed knowledge of residential and commercial design, Nyasa has been instrumental in designing and delivering some of Scott Brownrigg’s largest and highest profile schemes.  Her key projects include work on Culinary Quarter9-11 Richmond BuildingsCardiff Pointe, Eden Grove, Atlas Building and Old Church Street.

Whilst in the US, her key projects include the New York Wind Turbine and her key Clients include Bloomberg and Refinitiv.

Image: Alde Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool courtesy of BDP

Ged Couser

Ged is a principal who leads the architect profession group in BDP's Manchester studio.

Ged’s work is primarily focused upon healthcare and science and technology. He has extensive knowledge and experience of leading the design and delivery of major and complex projects in these sectors, from initial concept stage through to completion. He has a meticulous design approach and enjoys creating innovative solutions for the challenging problems that sometimes occur on both healthcare and sci-tech projects.

He is currently the project director for the new major Christie Paterson Research Laboratory in Manchester and was the project director for the multiple award winning Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Liverpool, which was handed over in June 2020. Both projects are major healthcare facilities with supporting pathology and production pharmacy services within them. He was also the architect project director for the NHS Nightingale North West hospital at Manchester Central Convention Complex which delivered a 750 bed regional Covid-19 emergency hospital in just two weeks.

Ged is on the Places Matter North West Design Review panel and in 2015 was appointed as a Built Environment Expert (BEE) by Design Council CABE. He is also a committee member of Manchester’s Forum for the Built Environment and is a former president of the RIBA Manchester Society of Architects.


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